WELLINGTON — The battery provided the juice Wellington’s baseball team needed Thursday.
Right-hander Erik Fehlan struck out 10 in a two-hitter and catcher Brock Waltz scored the first run and drove in the other as the Dukes downed Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division leader Buckeye 2-0.
“To beat a team like this, it’s a huge confidence-booster,” Fehlan said. “We came out, we fought and we made plays.
“I give all the credit to my defense for making some tough plays. They did an amazing job.”
The hard-throwing Fehlan (3-2) took a no-hitter into the fourth before ultimately allowing two opposite-field singles to Gannon recruit Scott Cloudy. Otherwise, he was dominant until the Bucks (13-6, 9-1), who kept sole possession of first place in the division when Firelands beat Keystone 5-3, made their last stand in the sixth.
Buckeye’s Robbie Nonamaker reached on a one-out error and Cloudy followed with a single. They moved up on a passed ball, but Fehlan struck out Tiffin commit Joe Bruening and nabbed Tyler Sovizral on a curveball that painted the outside corner.
The Bucks got another runner in the seventh. Fehlan rose to the challenge again and fanned Jeff Susalla and Alex Green to shut out an offense that entered play averaging 7.0 runs per game.
“I don’t know if (Fehlan) can get any more dialed in,” Waltz said. “His curveball was drillin’, his fastball was coming out 86 (mph) and he was throwing harder today than he usually does.”
Waltz provided the scoring in the second, when he walked against Kyle Friel (4-2) and moved to second on a wild pitch. Scott Palider moved Waltz to third on a groundout, and Waltz scored on a passed ball.
Waltz then gave the Dukes (7-7, 5-4) much-needed insurance in the sixth by driving in Fehlan, who had singled, on a groundout to short.
It was a good feeling of revenge after Buckeye won the first meeting 4-0 on April 15. Friel tossed a two-hitter to outduel Fehlan in that one, but wasn’t nearly as effective Thursday before being pulled in the fourth.
“When you hustle around the bases, it shows you don’t need hits,” Waltz said. “In the dugout, it makes for a complete change in confidence (when you score). Everybody is on the fence and everybody is cheering everybody else on.”
The Bucks were playing their fourth game in consecutive days, and it showed. They had enough chances to steal victory from the jaws of defeat, but struck out in all five at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The pitching combination of Friel, Nick Duliba and Nick Sedlon also was effective enough to win, as both runs were unearned.
“We didn’t have the intensity we had in previous games,” Cloudy said. “Then also, they executed and we didn’t with runners in scoring position. We didn’t put the ball in play, and you’ll have days like that. We just have to refocus.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.